In recent years, many new technologies have emerged for both entertainment and resource purposes. One amazing piece of technology that encompasses both of these uses is the e-reader. In this article we hope to answer some frequently asked questions about e-readers and to provide some information to help you decide if purchasing an e-reader is right for you, what features to look for and finally which readers are worthwhile to look into.
What is an “e-reader”?
E-readers are similar to tablet computers. They are available in a variety of brands and with a variety of features. Most e-readers feature e-ink which gives the screen a paper-like appearance to prevent eye strain and to give a similar experience to reading a real paper book. The paper-like screen can be read in sunlight, unlike most computer or tablet (LCD) screens. These devices are lightweight, small in dimension and conveniently store large libraries which are available at your finger tips. Some of the newer e-readers even feature internet connection capabilities so you can download books right to your device.
How can an e-reader help adult learners?
E-readers can serve a variety of readers. If you are finding that learning has renewed your love of reading you can use your e-reader to access an inexpensive variety of books at anytime. It’s as easy as searching the internet and plugging in your device. So e-readers can help you practice digital competency, by maintaining your library, updating and keeping up with operating the device itself. If you are on an academic goal path and want to read for more than just recreation, you can use your e-reader to compile and access a variety of resource materials, articles and other books and periodicals. On some models you can even add resources you Mentor sends you in PDF format!
What are the benefits and limitations of e-readers?
Most of the benefits and limitations are a matter of preference. E-readers are not quite the same experience as reading a real paper book which most avid readers enjoy. However, one e-reader can hold hundreds of books on a single device and doesn’t require massive bookshelves which may clutter up small spaces.
E-readers do have to be charged up periodically. It’s never fun when you battery dies in the middle of a really good book that you can’t put down, a problem one would never have with a book. The batteries in most e-readers do last fairly long and can be charged through the USB port on your computer.
E-readers can be read in bright light and the e-ink screen technology also doesn’t create a glare. so you can read anywhere, even outdoors! A feature that tablets cannot claim.
Loading your e-reader from a computer may be tricky depending on your level of experience, the compatibility of the computer and the software if your reader has it. Loading your reader does get easier with practice and many new models come with WIFI so you can download straight onto the device.
Many public domain titles are available and easy to find online. other titles may not be widely available and may require payment of anywhere from $0.99 to $9.99.
YouTube: Hear what other have to say about e-readers!
Here are some frequently asked questions that GLA staff have encountered on e-readers!
Q: How many books do they hold?
A: e-readers are available in a variety of capacities and some are even expandable through the use of an SD card. Low capacity e-readers can hold hundreds of books and if you use SD cards the size of your library is potentially limitless.
Q: What formats do e-readers use?
A: Most e-readers use a format called .epub, although many of the more popular models can read and display multiple formats including, .doc, .pdf and .txt. It is important to find out which readers support which formats based on your needs.
Q: Do I have to remove my purchased books to keep space available on my E-reader?
A: This is generally not the case do to the small size of the various book files and the large capacity of the devices. If you plan to buy so many books you need to rotate your library I would recommend either purchasing an e-reader with SD capabilities or backing up you library on a computer.
Q: Where is the best place to get free e-books?
A: There are a variety of sites online where you can download free e-books by indie authors, such as www.free-ebooks.net. Many paid e-book sites also have free sections, such as kobobooks.com and amazon.com. You can also find free books at www.goodreads.com. Some classic literature is also available for free through iTunes or other app stores – however these books may not be in formats compatible with your e-reader.
Q: Which e-reader would you recommend?
A: This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on the needs of the person reading, so I will outline a few of the top choices.
Kindle by Amazon
This is one of the original e-readers. The current model features a 6 inch display and paper-like background. It holds approximately 1000 books and has wifi to download books directly. Kindle can be purchased for as little as $69 during online promotions and features access to Kindle exclusive books not available in other stores.
Kindle Fire by Amazon
Kindle Fire is an e-reader/tablet hybrid. It features access to kindle exclusives and has apps and web browsing capabilities. It doesn’t do everything a tablet does but for those with minimal computer needs this is an inexpensive alternative to other tablets. In order to view movies and use other features of the Kindle Fire, the paper-like screen has been sacrificed. This means the Kindle Fire is not ideal for reading outdoors. Kindle Fire has a 7 inch screen and is available for about $149.
Kobo makes a variety of e-readers including the “Glo” model which incorporates a back-light feature allowing the Kobo to be read in low or no light. Other features are similar to the Kindle. Kobos are available in a variety of sizes, button or touch screen navigation, and even has an HD version available which is a nice feature for books with illustrations.
The Sony Reader is my personal favorite. It is an inexpensive reader that supports most book, text and image formats. It holds up to 1200 books with its internal memory and features an expandable SD card slot which can be used with SD card up to 32gb in size. The Sony Reader feature touch screen control, virtual page turning feature and comes with an integrated snap cover and costs about $129. The cons to the Sony Reader is a lack of back light meaning you will still need a lamp for reading in bed.
E-readers may never live up to the experience of turning the pages of a real book, however the convenience of having access to 1000 plus books on a device that can fit into your pocket, purse or backpack is pretty amazing. I hope this article will help you decide if an e-reader is right for you.